It was shortly after watching the gameplay reveal during Microsofts showcase during E32016, that I really started to worry about the longevity of the upcoming title Sea of Thieves. Now let me preface that I am actually looking forward to playing the action-adventure pirate game sometime when it launches next year in 2017. I know that it will be an instant hit for me and my group of Xbox Live companions, trying to boast the baddest ship in the seven seas. As a matter of fact, we are already having arguments of who is going to be the “Music-guy” wielding musical instruments to give the rest of us a haunting sea melody as we look for buried treasure. This is the Rare developed game that I have been looking forward to playing since it’s glory days of Banjo-Kazooie, the kind of game that refuses to allow the player to stop smiling. But as quickly as my hype began to build- I immediately found myself wondering if the online community will give this the attention that it never gave other multiplayer games, such as Evolve?
While the optimist in me wants to believe that a games fun-natured gameplay can transcend the normalities that you find wrong with a lot of multiplayer based games nowadays, the cold hard fact is that in order for this game to stay relevant months after the release of the game is entirely dependent on the players themselves, and their ability to pick up a microphone and communicate. In all areas of the game, this game demands collaboration amongst you and your team, the cheesy gameplay demo of people screaming at each other was more realistic than you probably think. From helping man the Crows Nest to watch for upcoming rocks, islands, and of course other ships- to informing the crew of holes in the side of your ship from enemy fodder, you must communicate with your team if you want your team to succeed. This is the reason that I compare this game to Evolve, many similarities follow the two in terms of player contribution demand, and we all know how that turned out for Evolve.
Now before you think I’m picking on Evolve, I enjoyed my time with that game but due to the issues that I am concerned about for Sea of Thieves, it was short lived. And from the way the community died out after a while, I know many out there had a similar experience. I feel like that could be a whole different topic in itself: is it wise for game developers to place so much trust in the community, that you the future of your title lives and dies by the online community? While there are definitely success stories for that, one right now is Overwatch; however with titles like Titanfall experiencing a similar fate, and Fable Legends was a key factor in a studios closing… It’s got to make you wonder if the reward is worth the risk.
I am looking forward to playing Rare’s upcoming title regardless of what the outcome may be a month or two later, but for the sake of the studio I hope that they find a crowd pleaser. The last thing that I wan’t to see is a world without developers willing to take risks in creativity to give us products like Sea of Thieves. You have to admit, although Call of Duty & Battlefield are awesome annualized fall blockbusters, games would get boring pretty fast without your occasional cult classic or wild idea game. You need the Mirror’s Edge and Sea of Thieves to break the mold. Personally, I hope to find you all out on the seas, soaking up the sun, and enjoying the crew mates around you when Sea of Thieves hits shelves next year.